When Dinesh Karthik came to the crease, India required 34 off 12 balls. Mustafizur Rahman had just delivered perhaps the over of the tournament. A profoundly deflated Vijay Shankar was batting at the other end. What unravelled was a scarcely believable finish that saw Bangladesh fritter away their chance at the title, and Karthik – phenomenally cool at the crease – seized ruthlessly on their string of mistakes, ESPNCricinfo reports.
He punished Rubel Hossain in the penultimate over, as the bowler continually missed his yorkers. The first ball, a full toss, disappeared over Rubel’s head. Later in the over, overpitched balls would be smashed over cow corner and blasted past square leg. Twenty-two runs were hit off that over, but Karthik’s best moment came at the end of the next. India now needing four off the last ball, he drilled a wide half volley from Soumya Sarkar over the extra cover rope. An India-supporting Khettarama crowd, a phenomenon without precedence in the 21st century, was tipped into euphoria. His own teammates flew out of the dressing room to greet him, engulfing him in a frenzied huddle.
Bangladesh, who had done so much to prove they had rid themselves of the many hangups their 2016 World T20 loss to India had spawned, were almost inconsolably distraught at the end of this match, now having collected a second haunting loss at the same opponent’s hands. They had bowled so beautifully in defense of their 166 for 8 – a total that seemed perhaps 15 runs light. They had bowled four consecutive boundary-less overs in the middle, conceding only 16 during that spell, and consequently raising India’s required rate from 7.81 at the end of the ninth over to 10 at the close of the 13th. Rohit Sharma, who had helped set up the pursuit with 56 off 42, was dismissed soon after, and neither Manish Pandey nor Shankar were chased into a corner by a proliferation of Bangladesh dot balls.
But all through this tournament, India have found special performers even from among this second string of players. After Mustafizur had bowled a wicket maiden in his final over the tournament, Karthik was India’s human adrenaline shot, reviving an innings that had seemed doomed to a quiet death. His only stroke of fortune was that he had Sarkar to face in the last over, a result of Bangladesh’s refusal to give Mehidy Hasan a second over after his first had been hit for 17 in the Powerplay.